Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Looking for upgrade from MDR-J20 while retaining/exceeding quality in the same style (Non-IEM)
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Looking for upgrade from MDR-J20 while retaining/exceeding quality in the same style (Non-IEM)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I think the title presents it in a nutshell, but you can't be too specific.

I'm one of those poor souls who cannot stand IEMs. As hard as I have tried, I just cannot wear them. The sensation of them just being there eventually leads to nausea. That and the fact I have tinnitus (non-headphone related), has put me off having anything present in the ear canal.

However....

I LOVE the forward facing design pioneered by Sony in the 80s as banded headphones, and still exist (plus copied by others) as over the ear earphones. The reason being, is that full cupped headphones aren't as portable enough for me. I have gone through some, and finally realized that home use is it for them. They don't travel well in my backpack, and end up breaking. I also don't want that weight on my head, or anything interfering with hats or glasses.

That leaves me with the forward-facing style (is there a term for this style like IEM?). Unfortunately, I see no models in this style from any of the high-end manufacturers. So far, the only "high-end" models are just the better ones from Sony.

From this point forward, I may use descriptions and use some audiophile terms that could irk some when referring to low-end 'phones, but...

The best ones I have seen (and heard) are my current ones, the MDR-J20*.



Contrary to previous posts, they are significantly better than the J10s. There is a "full" bass response compared to cheaper models. They even beat out some of the $100- IEMs from Sony which were very tinny for as long as I could keep them in.

Sadly, while the drivers are great, the earpiece construction is seriously flawed. The rubber hooks fit over plastic pins that snap in half so easily, that in retrospect it surprises me that they didn't break coming out of the package. That and the type of rubber coating for the cable degrades rather quickly (commonly reported).

So, I was on the listen out for a new pair within that style range from any brand, but all were too cheap to risk. Then I saw the MDR-AS20J. The specs matched the J20, and from the model number, I wondered if they might have the same drivers, but be the same in a new style.



No dice. They were a great fit, even better than the J20. Perfect even, but the response was like the J10. Too tinny. The drivers were not the same at all. It was a depressing experience.

Anyhow, now I'm back at stage one. With my re-wired, crazy-glued and spliced J20 on its last legs. Is there something I have missed in this style that will meet or exceed the performance of the J20, and also be more durable?

I hope you can help.

Thanks.
post #2 of 6
did you check out the iGrado's? I havn't tried them my self and they arn't exactly like those.. I hear they are pretty dang good..
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, but those are banded (albeit behind the neck) and face the ear like cups. They may be great for the style, but they are going in the opposite direction from what I want.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Is there anything else I should be aware of?
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I had thought there would be some known alternatives...
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Anyone....?
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Looking for upgrade from MDR-J20 while retaining/exceeding quality in the same style (Non-IEM)